New York struggled to find consistency after a 5-1 start. The chemistry between Walker, Fournier and Randle didn’t develop. Randle’s shooting regressed. Rose underwent surgery to repair an ankle injury in late December and hasn’t returned to the court. Noel has been in and out of the lineup. And the Knicks enter the week with a 35-44 record and an opportunity this offseason to turn things around. But, as one former coach who observes the Knicks and has won and lost in the league observed recently: “Is anything different or did the Knicks just have a mirage of a season last year? Is this just Knicks history repeating itself? “If I’m (Knicks owner James) Dolan and Rose, that would be the one thing I don’t want to happen.”
SNY has not independently confirmed that. People in touch with the Knicks and Tom Thibodeau expect the coach to return next season. If he is back, people familiar with the situation believe Thibodeau will be under strong scrutiny early next season if the club falters.
To the veteran former coach, letting Thibodeau go and allowing Rose to stay would be a mistake, “I just don’t want the Knicks to do the Knicks thing. It just keeps churning. There’s always something better on the horizon,” he said. “To me, all organizations, but particularly organizations with a history of losing, they should tie together coaches (and executives). (In New York), Thibodeau and Rose should be tied together. When one of you goes, both of you go.”
Fred Katz on Tom Thibodeau: There are people in that organization who are not completely his allies and are not completely his supporters.
Stefan Bondy: A source confirmed James Dolan left the decision up to Leon Rose to fire or keep Tom Thibodeau. Rose has chosen to keep Thibodeau next season, according to Bleacher Report.
After weeks of leaguewide speculation that Tom Thibodeau's tenure with New York was heading toward an unceremonious end, Thibodeau is expected to remain the Knicks' head coach beyond this 2021-22 season, league sources told B/R.
New York stands 5.5 games outside the play-in tournament following a surprising run to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs just last spring, and there has been some internal support to move on from the NBA's reigning Coach of the Year, sources said. "That's the danger of overperforming," said one rival team strategist. "You set this expectation."
Knicks governor James Dolan had granted the front office permission to either remove Thibodeau or retain him, sources said. But team president Leon Rose has no plans to make any change on the Knicks' bench, sources said. Thibodeau maintains a frequent dialogue with Dolan following each game and often visits the governor's box.
New York brass also strongly values Thibodeau's ability and willingness to pose as the team's official spokesperson. "Thibs will stand there pregame and postgame, every day, and take the bullets for you," the coaching figure said.
Bondy: I did hear what’s been out there, which is William Wesley, Worldwide Wes, has been going around, and it’s not just been to James Dolan, other people have heard this as well from Wes, that Thibodeau is at least partially or mostly to blame for what’s happening right now. I heard specifically, and this was a couple of weeks ago, that Wesley was saying Thibodeau hadn’t been giving the young players a chance and that the team should be better. When you have a high-ranking executive like that talking about the coach in that way, yeah, there’s cause for concern.
Last Thursday, a day after the Knicks last played a game, SNY reported that executive vice president William Wesley, in conversations with owner James Dolan, at least partially blamed Thibodeau for the team’s struggles. The Knicks currently are 12th in the Eastern Conference. In his first comments since then, though, Thibodeau insisted he was not worried about it. “I talk to Wes all the time,” Thibodeau said Wednesday. “I don’t respond to rumors or any of that stuff. I know the drill here. I’ve been here before, so I don’t worry about any of that stuff.”
When the Knicks hired Thibodeau, they preached that he and the front office — led by his former agent, team president Leon Rose — were in lockstep. “I talk to Leon every day, talk to Wes every day,” said Thibodeau, who is in the second year of a five-year contract. “So that doesn’t change.”
Marc Stein on Tom Thibodeau: I don't think he's under any immediate jeopardy. But look, the rumblings I heard after the Oklahoma City loss when they lost an OT to OKC coming off a bad loss to Portland was kind of the first rumble I heard from someone credible that, "hey, if they don't make the play and Thibs is in serious trouble"
Back on January 31, I was chatting on the phone with an NBA source when the subject veered toward the Knicks. The guy proceeded to drop a line that felt like a conversational anvil. “If Thibodeau survives half of next season, it’ll be a miracle,” he said.
Knicks executive vice president William Wesley. And in conversations with Knicks owner James Dolan this month, Wesley has been laying the blame for the season – at least in part - on Thibodeau’s coaching, per SNY sources.
Does that mean Thibodeau will be fired during the All-Star break? I don’t know the answer to that question. As stated previously, I would be a bit surprised if he were let go at this point. But stranger things have happened in pro sports. The idea that Wesley is privately citing Thibodeau’s coaching as a significant factor behind New York’s struggles is noteworthy.
But Wesley’s criticism of Thibodeau suggests that the coach and management are not on the same page. And it suggests that Thibodeau and the front office are not functioning properly. Something else that suggests the front office and Thibodeau are not in lock step? The coach’s reaction at the trade deadline. Once it was clear that the Knicks weren’t making any trades on Feb. 10, Thibodeau was angry, per SNY sources. He believed that the roster would benefit from an upgrade, those sources say.
Since he came on as coach, Thibodeau has been consulted on personnel moves. Some people who have done business with the team in the past year believe Wesley and Brock Aller – the club’s vice president of basketball and strategic planning -- have significant input on team decisions. Thibodeau’s opinion is considered, they say, but management has made several significant personnel decisions that didn’t align with Thibodeau’s thinking.
Only Knicks owner James Dolan, team president Leon Rose, and executive vice president William Wesley know the precise answer to that question. What we know: Even before the brutal loss to the Nets, confidence in Thibodeau had diminished among some people of influence at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have been inconsistent in all aspects of the game – except blowing double-digit leads.
Some players privately questioned how he handled the benching of Walker earlier in the season. Walker said that he and Thibodeau didn’t speak for a significant stretch after Thibodeau decided to bench him.
It had ESPN pundit and Knicks fan Stephen A. Smith fuming. “The New York Knicks are a national disgrace,” he said post-game in an all-time rant. “They are horrible. Thibbs, we’re hearing the New York Knicks organisation ain’t too fond of him anymore, he may be out. I don’t give a damn if he’s gone tonight. Julius Randle, I’m done with him. Leon Rose. We’ve got inmates in state penitentiaries more visible than this man. He’s the president of basketball operations and we can’t find this man. “They are trash. No KD, no Kyrie and no Ben Simmons and you lose a 28-point lead courtesy of a rookie by the name of Cam Thomas. The New York Knicks are trash. Spike Lee shouldn’t even show up for the rest of the season. Don’t go. Nobody goes. You’re horrible. I’m so done with this team. You just stink. This is a disgrace.”
Taylor said he still has faith in Thibodeau to lead the Timberwolves organization, because he “can’t believe he ever thought any of these things would happen.” “Because he’s a guy that spoke for Jimmy and did all that type of stuff, I know that he is really hurt that this thing happened,” Taylor said. He said Thibodeau still has years of experience as a coach, and that the Wolves have “got to get through this thing.”
Thibodeau will have two years, $16 million on his contract after this season. “He’ll be evaluated on how we go forward.” Taylor said. “The truth is, we dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, so it’s going to be harder than it would be if it was a true start of a season. We’re just going to have to make that up. That’s how I’m going to do it.
What happens if the Wolves somehow pull themselves together from here to earn a second successive playoff berth after 13 seasons without one? Thibodeau still has two seasons left on his monster contract, so he may not be so easily cast aside. Another potential complication: One coach Taylor is known to be very fond of — Fred Hoiberg — is still employed by the Bulls. A former Timberwolves front-office executive before he moved into college coaching at Iowa State, Hoiberg has one more season after this left on his Chicago contract. Within the Wolves's organization, Ryan Saunders — an assistant coach on Thibodeau's staff and the son of the late former Timberwolves Coach Flip Saunders — is held in high regard.
Thibodeau disputed the idea that he is attempting to construct a win-now roster that would help ensure his own job security, and highlighted the significance of the draft pick. "Not really. It was what was best for the organization," Thibodeau said. "Obviously getting good players was a priority. The pick part was important. We felt we got a good pick from Philly.”
John Meyer: It's a quiet arena tonight in Minneapolis and the angry fans are taking advantage. "You suck Thibodeau" and "Fire Thibs," have been heard loud and clear. More pre-game boos for Thibs as well.
Minnesota is sorting through what's left in Butler's wake. Taylor considered firing Thibodeau and Layden in the summer -- well before the Butler situation escalated -- and has continued to consider possibilities to eventually replace both of them, league sources said. There's immense pressure on Minnesota's management structure to see dividends on this trade.
When he was with the Bulls, he wasn’t very popular within the team’s offices. He was viewed as arrogant and standoffish. Now, his same basketball-only tunnel vision hasn’t made many friends within the Minnesota franchise. League execs expect that will lead Taylor to make a move after this season to bring in someone with strong Timberwolves ties, like Chauncey Billups, to run the team.
Jon Krawczynski: Some boos, some cheers for Jimmy Butler. Lots of boos, no cheers for Tom Thibodeau. (The Wolves are at home)
Thibodeau is not worried about his job security either. “I never worry about that. The important thing is to understand where we were and how we had to change the direction, and also to understand what your job is,” Thibodeau said. “Your job is to acquire the best talent available to help the team win. I think anyone who has been here, when you go through that many lottery seasons, to win 47 games, to get to the playoffs, to see the excitement in the building, to see the excitement in the players, I think it worked out the way we thought it would.
Thibodeau has three years left on his five-year that deal that was worth about $40 million. Is he coaching for his job? “No, no, the only thing now is that we are starting to play games and I am asking him to concentrate on coaching and the GM Scott Layden will help to see if any trades are available,” Taylor said.
There are people close to this situation who strongly believe that Thibs’ time in Minnesota is already unofficially over. That being said, two key factors will be taken into consideration: Money, and timing. While the $24 million he’s still owed obviously pales in comparison to what the T-Wolves’ young cornerstones are hauling in, it’s still … $24 million. Thibodeau’s arrival in April of 2016 was a big moment for this franchise that had been in the dark for quite some time, and let’s not forget that — dysfunction be darned — it was his team that broke the 14-year playoff drought.
The general feeling on that front is that he’d probably be more inclined to pursue a different, less toxic, coaching chair. As for the question of whether or not he should be having a voice on a trade here, the reality for Taylor is that he’s not a basketball man, per se, while Thibodeau and Layden are the hoops experts here.
The Butler-Towns tension is paramount, but it's hardly the only organizational drama that's threatening to undermine the franchise's current structure. Owner Glen Taylor has significant concern with the broader franchise culture under Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden -- so much so that Taylor considered changes in the offseason, league sources said. Taylor has privately second-guessed his decision to give Thibodeau full control of basketball operations as a part of hiring him as coach, league sources said.
December 4, 2022 | 6:14 am EST Update
Floyd Mayweather didn’t deny the possibility of seeking ownership for a potential team in either Las Vegas or Seattle as well as an existing team. “It could be the Vegas franchise. It could be the Seattle franchise or I could be buying a franchise that’s already up and running,” said Mayweather. “So the first offer, we offered them a little over $2 billion for majority ownership. Do I have it? Absolutely, I have it, but it didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s a lot when you have so many different businesses all around the world. It’s a lot.”
Mayweather indicated that he and his business partners continue to pursue the purchase of an NBA team. Mayweather didn’t indicate which franchise was in his sights but indicated that the pursuit has been in the works for an extended period. “I’ve been working on buying a NBA team outright,” said Mayweather. “One of my other business partners, Brent Johnson, he’s here. So we’ve been working on the NBA team for a while now. It’s kinda, it’s rough.”
Daily Loud: Floyd Mayweather is currently trying to purchase an NBA team, he already offered $2 Billion to buy one of the NBA franchises.
Bradley Beal explained why he re-signed with the Washington Wizards during a recent episode of No Chill with Gilbert Arenas. (via No Chill with Gilbert Arenas): “But to have the pieces we have, we have enough to know that we can compete on a nightly basis with no BS. We know that we got a job, everybody’s able to be a star in their role, and we can go do that. On the flip side of it, the business side of it. There were no teams in the market, free agency-wise. I’m just being frank. There was nowhere else for me to go where I can be like, ‘Oh, I can go win.’ It was teams that strategically wasn’t what I wanted. So realistically, I wouldn’t say my hand was forced, but this was my best decision and best option on the table at the time.”
“Not everybody gives you a voice in the organization. I have a voice here. I never had a chance to fully play a year with KP. That enticed me. He’s probably the best big I’ve played with. I like Kuz’s ability to be able to spread his wings a little bit more, develop into the player that we think he can be. I like the young core that we were developing. Rui is really good, had an awesome summer. Deni’s just gonna continue to get better. And then Corey’s a knockdown shooter, who is a Pro’s Pro. We still need to get better. I’m not sitting here saying, ‘We’re gonna hold up the Larry. We’re going to beat Milwaukee tomorrow.’ No.”
Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was ejected in the first half of the Saturday’s 135-128 loss to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder after he appeared to purposefully trip Kenrich Williams. Gobert contested Williams on a drive to the rim with 9:22 to go in the second quarter, causing Williams to fall to the ground. Gobert tripped over Williams and while down on the court appeared to sweep a leg out in an attempt to trip Williams when the Thunder forward was attempting to get up. A brief scuffle ensued, after which Gobert was assessed a flagrant foul 2 and ejected. Williams received a technical foul. “I trust that they got it right,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said of the officials’ ruling.
Jon Krawczynski: Finch: “I think for sure, the frustrations boiled over. It was not the most mature effort by us. We needed a way more mature effort than that. We needed to do the little things better like take care of the ball and make the next rotation on defense. That’s what cost us the game.”
Christopher Hine: Naz Reid on the Wolves’ emotions: “That’s something that we got to work on as a team. Our veteran guys, they know better. They know they made mistakes, & they know that might’ve cost us moments in the game. We’re not blaming anybody. It is what it is. We just got to be better.”